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Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Calvin & Hobbes, 26 Years Later.

Today is the last day of April. June is the 2 year anniversary of me starting a blog! I started out with a dream and hint of whimsy, delving deep into my internal memory of funny, to find random, often strange things to write about.

Today, I had to post this comic: (I believe you can click it to get a bigger view, or use the link below it!)

Calvin and Hobbes was one of my very favorite comics as a kid, next to Zits and Dilbert. Looking at this comic, it somehow transports me back to being 7 years old, with a thick anthology of this comic strip, reading about the adventures of a towheaded boy and his stuffed tiger, his shenanigans, all his mischief. 

And I like to think that I was much like that little boy. Fearless, adventurous, a bit sneaky, funny, lovable, with a best friend to get into trouble with. 

I'd like to think I am still like that little boy, only a more grown up version, who is also responsible enough to pay her bills and not just jump in mud puddles and hide in my transmogrifier.

Nostalgia is a funny thing. 

Time heals most wounds and also blurs the edges of particularly painful or difficult memories. A perfect example of this is when you break up with a significant other. At first, you can still be mad or sad, and remember every word of every fight, and think again and again of what you SHOULD HAVE said, and how things could have been different. But, after a few months, maybe you still miss that person. And things are remembered a little differently. You start to think of all the good times, and the laughter, and stop remembering the pain, as the good parts start to outweigh the bad in your memories.

It's why I have always tried to live by the rule of no re-dating. You broke up for good reasons, so unless one or both of you have changed significantly, those reasons likely still exist. It's not an ironclad rule, as like I said, sometimes people or situations do change, but it's a good thing to keep in mind.

Nostalgia is taking out the old and dusting it off to look almost like new again, but not quite, and remembering how great things used to be. 

After all, doesn't everyone seem to think fondly of "the good old days," when kids weren't as stupid and minded their manners, when parents weren't as lame, and when gas still cost under a dollar?

Nothing wrong with nostalgia, that's for sure. Hey, better to remember fondly and smile one of those somewhat sad, mostly happy smiles with the far-away gaze we get when we're remembering something beautiful, than to only look back with anger and sadness. You certainly can't live a full life carrying that around forever, as it will eventually and surely break you down to nothing. 

So, today, look back on those days of hanging out with Teddy (or Hobbes!), who was the very best listener, the greatest adventure-sharer, and the one who helped you fall asleep. Remember Teddy! And someday, maybe we'll all have those rascally kids who have a Hobbes of their own to love and imagine and go on adventures with. And when that happens, we once again get to pull out those old memories, dust them off, and play with them again for awhile. 

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Why Don't Zombies Just Eat Animal Brains?

What if cats turned into zombies? And what if zombie cats couldn't be killed? Unkillable zombie cats would take over the world! And then they would enslave humanity, and make us do their bidding. Like now, but we'd KNOW we were enslaved. And cats are already murder-y jerks, killing birds and other stuff.

The only reason they'd keep some humans around would be for the opposable thumbs and ability to use a can opener! WE'RE DOOOOMED!
Zombies and vampires seem to be a thing now. Like, Twilight happened, and except for teenage girls, basically ruined the vampire genre for a lot of people. Or maybe not ruined it, as there is a lot of really, really good vampire stories out there, but dampened their enthusiasm, and made it hard to say out loud that you liked vampire stories, lest anyone associate that with the Twilight movement (I did read them, by the way, I am not just slamming it without even knowing what I'm talking about. I hate when people do that!)

Dracula is great, and in the other direction, I really love the Sookie Stackhouse novels (it is the books that the TV show ‘True Blood’ is based on. THE BOOKS ARE SOOOO GOOD.), and there is a young adult series called ‘The House of Night’ by a duet named Cast that is a really good interpretation of vampire stories. In fact, in both of these series of books, humans know about vampires and live with them out in the open, though that doesn’t exactly mean acceptance, does it?

Imagine if you were already living in a world where gay marriage is discriminated against. A stretch, I know. Now imagine that vampires exist and live next door, and you’re equally scared and fascinated by them. And some of them are gay, too. It would be uber-mega-vamp-homophobia! Except you couldn’t bully them, because they could kill you with their pinky finger. Everyone knows vampires are really strong. And cunning. Both because they really are cunning, and because the word “cunning” is an excellent one, and I felt the urge to use it here.

As to zombies, I am not sure on this. I like some of it, I don’t like some of it, but there are some pretty clear themes.
1. Zombies want to eat your brains.
2. Zombies are not the most effective communicators.
3. Most zombies are very slow, which helps to evade them, unless you are caught in a large crowd of zombies, in which case, you are basically mosh-pitted to death and then eaten in a frenzy of zombie excitement.
4. Malls are not the best places to hide from zombies.
5. They are able to be killed, for sure this time, but it takes more effort than killing humans.
6. Zombies are really good at killing humans. 
BRAAAAAAINS! Human, please. I'll take 3 pounds, sliced thin, on a hoagie
Why has no one ever explored the idea that zombies could be out there, eating the brains of dolphins or moose or squirrels or something? Why do they specifically need human brains? Is it just that when zombies come back from the dead, they are usually in a town or near a place where humans live, and therefore are presented with human brains as their first option? Oh wait, someone on Yahoo! Answers asked. Let’s see what they say. Hmm...not as bad as I was expecting, given that it’s Yahoo! Answers.

I posed this question to 3 other people. Showing that they know me well, not a single one of them even wondered why I asked, when out of the blue, I texted them “Hey. Have you ever wondered why zombies don’t just eat animal brains?”

I got 3 different and viable answers:

Boyfriend: “I assumed they did, hence zombie dogs, rats, etc.”
Gigi: “I think they do eat animals as well as people, but generally zombie outbreaks happen in populated areas, and the most plentiful game is people.”
Megan: “Because animals are smarter than us and hide better. Humans are all like, ‘I gotta go save my friend!’ But animals are all like, ‘Good luck forest friends, Imma be hiding over here!’”

The girls have good points! Animals generally have that fight or flight instinct that allows them to survive in the wilderness and avoid predators. Humans, while we HAVE the fight or flight reflex, are more able to override that and be like “Come at me, bro!” And all the movies do show zombie outbreaks happening in big cities like Gotham and Metropolis and you know, other big cities. And I don’t see a whole lot of moose and possum wandering the streets of New York to snack on.

So, I am not sure where I was going with this, but I feel like we all learned a lot about ourselves. Vampires are rad and they should be coexisting peacefully with us and drinking synthetic blood (Not exactly a spoiler: ‘True Blood’ is the name of the synthetic blood that vamps are able to subsist on instead of snacking on humans or animals in the Charlaine Harris novels-turned-TV-show). And zombies are questionable. They either eat both animal and human brains, kind of slowly, or they leave Fido and Sasquatch alone and target humans; either because we are heavily populated and therefore plentiful, or because we are stupid and animals hide better/run faster.

Side note: The True Blood books were really good. For fans of the show: Each novel is really action-packed and fast-paced. The entire first season of the show mirrored just book 1 of the more-than-15 book series, and then it diverged from the books. If you like the show, you should totally read the books! When I read them, I got the first several from the library, before eventually having to buy a couple of them when they didn’t have the next in the series that I needed!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Making It In This World As A Gumshoe.

I bet I would be a pretty badass murderer. Or, you know, crime scene investigator or detective. Yeah, that one. I would be a super badass private eye!
Especially if this were the 40’s, and I was just a man, a gumshoe, sitting in a room full of shadows, feet on my desk and newspaper in my hand. A sigh filled with ennui escapes me, as I realize that my last couple of cases were boring, too easy, not worthy of my time and skills. But, I suppose sometimes we do what we have to to pay the bills. A sudden sound interrupts my reverie. The door swings open, revealing a woman, her face half covered with a wide-brimmed black felt hat. She stares at me for a moment, as I place my paper on the desk and wonder what she could need. What would a woman like her be doing in a place like this, in the not-yet-gentrified, slightly seedy side of DC? She sits opposite me, her head down. When she looks back up, I can see the fear in her eyes, the pain behind the fear, under the edge of her hat. She takes a deep breath and opens her mouth, her words almost tumbling over each other in her haste to tell her tale. At the end, she stops, sniffs once, and looks me directly in the eye. “So, will you help me?”

Sure, my little story is stereotypical for a P.I. in the olden days. But really, what else would you be expecting? In this case, it’s stereotypical because it works. Could you not clearly see it, in your head, full black and white, as it plays out like any good detective novel or movie?

Back to the point. I have watched A LOT of crime shows. My top favorites are Criminal Minds, Bones, Law & Order, and Psych. One of my favorite authors is David Baldacci, a writer whose complex, twisting, incredibly detailed crime thriller/detective novels make it so that I cannot stop reading, even when I am so tired that half my body is hanging off the bed and my eyes are barely open and I think to myself “It’s 1:30 am! I HAVE to go to sleep or I’ll die at work tomorrow! Ok, just finish this chapter...”

With all this knowledge, in addition to a keen and analytical mind, I figure my best bet for a career is either catching the bad guy, or being one.
He's so fancy!
Think about it! I could be like Bones but with more personality, and friends. Or I could be some sort of criminal mastermind, building an empire on deceit and gold. I wonder if there is some kind of school course or something I could take that could train me in both, and then halfway through, you pick your specialty (crime or crimefighter) and then the rest of the course is more specific and specialized to what you’re going to do.

Imagine if, as a Crimefighter major, you also got to pick a superhero alter-ego, or as a Crime major, you were immediately fitted for an old style sharp pinstriped suit, fedora, given a cigar and a pocketwatch, and were told to maintain a neat mustache. No goatees allowed. 

Goatees don’t exactly scream gangster to me. And in case you want to argue with me about goatees being super awesomely gangster, I shall take this time to remind you that Mel Gibson has a half-gray, half-black aging-devil-looking mustache and goatee combo. And it's not doing the dude any favors.
The devil or is it the Amazing Mesmero, low-budget magician?
I have to tell far, being a criminal mastermind is edging out detective. I mean, I get a suit, and a sweet pocketwatch, a fedora. AND I SUPER LOVE MUSTACHES (again, maybe not ol' Mel's...)

Were there female gangsters in the 40’s? Because even though I adore fluffy mustaches, I don’t exactly want to sport my own. I can strap into a suit and step on people on my way to the top of my crime organization in blood-red stilettos and singing happily to myself, with a gun at my hip.

Do I get a pinkie ring, too? Who buys me the pinkie ring? Is it a privilege? Should I only accept a pinkie ring from my 2nd in command, or can I just go get it myself from Claires or Zales or something? Also, if I’m allowed to have a pinkie-ring-preference, I’d like it to have some sort of crest on it, or my initials. Because I’ve decided on my signature.

They way you’ll know I’ve been there or a crime could be associated with my people will be that my pinkie ring is a signet ring. I’ll melt wax and then leave the imprint of my ring in the way. Oh man, my ring will be so rad.

Pretty sure if I were in the 40’s, that my decision is made. I would be the Gangster Queen of Brooklyn. Or Florida. Depends on where I’d be living, I guess.
Except instead of being certified in crime reduction, it would be in crime increasion. Increasing? Enlargement? Hell, I'm not the one who makes up graduation certificates!
I am going to think about this before bed tonight and maybe I’ll have some awesome dreams full of gangsters versus old-timey cops, and murder, drama, all in full-on black and white, with a narrator in my head. Since it’ll be a dream, I’d like to officially put in a request for the narrator to be Morgan Freeman.

Friday, April 5, 2013

What My Closet Reveals About Me.

I was a very odd child. Aside from the obvious weirdness I still exhibit, I had selective hyper-organization skills. I say selective because I used to refer to the floor as “the biggest shelf in the house,” and my room looked like a disaster site. Though to be fair, I knew where every single thing was, it was just that other people might die in there. But at least I’d know where they were! My mom says I also showed signs of "selective hearing," but that one was a more deliberate choice.

Here is a good example of my selective hyper-organization skillz:
I didnt know what I wanted to be when I grew up, but I was interested in a ton of different things. So I found a file box, one of those plastic boxes for 4 x 6 index cards, with a closing top and alphabetical files in it. And then I proceeded to write each thing I was interested in on a card, a description of what I thought it would be like to do that for a job, and filed it in my box. In alphabetical order, of course. I actually still have it somewhere. Probably in a box of random crap in my parent's garage.
Mine was blue, in case you needed a clearer picture.
My 'files' looked something like this:

Job: Writer
My life: Sitting at a fancypants computer in a big huge house with a pool and a horse and 7 dogs. I’ll write when I’m not swimming and stuff. Writing means working from home, which means no pants.

Oh. My. God.

I was a genius.

No wonder I want to be a writer so badly. Hello? NO PANTS WORKDAYS. That’s the winning career. I hadn’t even factored that into adult-me wanting to be a writer.

Another example:

Job: Astronaut
My life: Marrying another astronaut while we are in space, flipping upside down and stuff. Discover new planets and stars and make a lot of money. Also, pretending I am swimming through a spaceship sounds wicked awesome.

Ok, I need to stop giving examples. It turns out little me was not so different from adult me. Because I have to tell you, both of those examples are making me rethink the path my life is currently on.

Is it too late to become an astronaut? I think they have a physical test, and I have to tell you, I don’t run. I am an UH-DULT. There is no reason for to be running to or from anything. I have no money, so there’s no one attempting to rob me, and I’m not quite at a point in my life where I feel the urge to run toward McDonalds or something. I mean, I’ve never tried it, but I also don’t think I would do one of those slow-motion running on the beach into Boyfriend’s arms. That just seems silly. So there you have it. I don’t run.

If someone were to start chasing me, I’d probably get about 7 strides in and then stop, huffing and puffing, bent over with my hands on my knees, and yell at the person “WHY THE HECK ARE YOU CHASING ME?” And if that person couldn’t provide a satisfactory answer, like maybe “Sorry, I thought you were someone else. Someone rich.” Or something along those lines, then I am going to shark-punch him in the throat and get back to walking at my normal speed. 
Me, after a block. But not black and no way in hell would I be in some kind of race.
One way my awkward organization skills show themselves in my adult life is my closet. With my shoes, I just leave them in a pile on the floor, usually pointing in the direction I was going when I took them off. But I have all my tops hung up neatly in the closet. Which isn’t the weird part. They are in color order, from lightest to darkest. Now, I haven’t taken it TOO far. They are NOT in order of sleeveless-short sleeve-long sleeve (at least not at the moment).

But they are in color order, starting with white on the far left and moving down the line to yellow, peach, pink, red, teal, green, blue, purple, brown, black.

It makes sense for me. When I am in the shower in the morning, I like to think ahead to what I am going to wear to work that day, and it’s rarely a specific T-shirt that I want to wear. It’s usually more like, “Hmm...I think I’m in more of a teal mood today.”

And it’s super easy to maintain! I leave the hanger wherever the shirt was, so when my laundry is clean and I’m hanging stuff up, if it’s a blue shirt, I just grab the empty hanger from the blues and put the clean one right back where it was! The fact that the closet shelves are messy and a bit disorganized, and there's dust all on the floor, does not negate the fact that my clothes hang in a rainbow of happiness.
This isn't my closet. But it's beautiful!
DON’T JUDGE ME. Or at least, don’t judge me for THAT. There is so much more going on in me that you could judge me for. :) 

I wonder if a psychologist would have a field day with me, or if I am not as odd as people say I am, and he would traverse easily through the weirdness in me?

I was an ordinary child in many ways. Isn’t that what criminal masterminds always say? Didn’t Dr. Evil say something to that effect? And the car he was in was incinerated and he was saved only by the protective shell of his mother. And then something about Belgians.

There are only 2 things I can’t stand in this world. People who are intolerant of other people AND THE DUTCH!

...somehow, it always comes back to Austin Powers, doesn’t it? Life, the universe, everything. Screw 42, it’s Austin Powers that explains it all. Even Clarissa never came close.

lol, one more:
“I used to think you were crazy, but now I can see your nuts!”(and yes, Mom, I AM using the correct form of "your" here, in context. I'd explain it, but you'd probably think it was gross.)
Love that whole series. I even have them on DVDs. Much to Boyfriend’s dismay, I like DVDs, and CDs, and other obsolete technology he no longer deigns to acknowledge. Poor Boyfriend, living with such a technologically backwards person, one who even argues in favor of watching movies on DVD, because then we can watch deleted scenes and other extras. I can see how that would cause a techy person immense suffering. :P